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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dortmund Drubbed In Bundesliga Opener

BERLIN -- Borussia Dortmund, sending a patchwork team onto the field, was overpowered 4-2 by Bayer Leverkusen in a rocky opening game for the defending Bundesliga champions.


Holger Fach's 58th minute go-ahead goal and Rene Rydlewicz's sealer in the 81st lifted Leverkusen past the two-time champions on Saturday in the opening weekend of the 34th Bundesliga season.


Reflecting a disastrous pre-season, Dortmund's defense proved porous without injured German national team players Steffen Freund, Matthias Sammer and Juergen Kohler.


"We're not in the position to win the individual duels,'' sighed Dortmund coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. "I sure hope we find our form soon.''


VfB Stuttgart, displaying all its potent offense, topped the standings of Germany's premier league after a 4-0 rout of Schalke in a battle of two dark horse candidates for the title.


With a record 121 foreigners studding Bundesliga' rosters because of the Bosman Decision, Stuttgart led the way by starting six.


Stuttgart received goals from the high-scoring trio of Brazil's Giovanne Elber, Bulgaria's Krassimir Balkov and Fredi Bobic, whom the team's fans call the "magical triangle.'' Matthias Hagner also scored.


Alain Sutter's 86th-minute penalty pushed SC Freiburg past Werder Bremen 3-2, while 1860 Munich also edged Hamburger SV 2-1. VfL Bochum shaded MSV Duisburg 1-0 and Hansa Rostock and Karlsruher SC drew 2-2.


Bayern Munich was given a tough battle in its season opening German first division match on Friday as it had to come from a goal down before beating St. Pauli 2-1.


Martin Driller surprised Bayern with a 19th-minute goal before new signings Ruggiero Rizzitelli and Mario Basler scored within the space of three minutes for the visitors shortly before the interval.


Newly promoted Arminia Bielefeld sprang a surprise when it managed a goalless away draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach, which ended last season in fourth place.


Moenchengladbach also played 0-0 with Arminia Bielefeld.


Leverkusen, a candidate for demotion last season despite its talent, was expected to improve under new coach Christoph Daum. The 42-year-old had already driven VfB Stuttgart and Besiktas Istanbul to titles.


Following the Dortmund game, Daum announced he expected big things from his underachievers. "Some of our players were excellent today -- that's the standards I'm going to measure them against the rest of the season,'' said Daum.


Leverkusen stunned Dortmund with goals by Paulo Sergio and Ulf Kirsten in the opening seven minutes, before the defending champions scrambled back on shots by Scotland's Paul Lambert and Ghana's Ibrahim Tanko.


But in the second half, Dortmund couldn't squeeze out a single scoring chance. Austrian midfielder Andreas Herzog made his return to Werder Bremen count -- after a turbulent year at Bayern Munich -- by firing two goals.


But Dutch striker Harry Decheiver matched him with two shots before Sutter sealed Freiburg's win after a hand play penalty.


South Africa's Sean Dundee salvaged a draw for Karlsruhe with his 81st-minute evener after an early goal by teammate Dirk Schuster. Nigeria's Jonathan Akpoborie had temporarily put Rostock up 2-1 with his two scores.


(AP, Reuters)